The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 14, Number 1, 2015

ISSN 1602-2297


Growing Transdisciplinary Roots in the Peruvian Amazon: Lessons from the Field


Adam C. Landon, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2261 TAMU, College Station TX, 77843. Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT, Texas A&M University.
*Corresponding author: Phone: 585-314-5454, Email: aclandon@tamu.edu, Fax: 979-845-0446

Carena J. van Riper, Department of Recreation, Sport & Tourism, University of Illinois Urban-Champaign,
104 Huff Hall, Champaign, IL, 61820, Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT, Texas A&M University

Nicole F. Angeli, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2258 TAMU,
College Station TX, 77843, Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT, Texas A&M University

Daniel B. Fitzgerald, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2258 TAMU,
College Station TX, 77843, Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT, Texas A&M University

Kelsey D. Neam, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2258 TAMU, College Station TX, 77843, Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT, Texas A&M University

Abstract: Although promising advances in transdisciplinary scholarship have been made over the past several decades, the successful integration of disciplinary perspectives has yet to be realized. One avenue for fostering transdisciplinarity is experiential education at the graduate level where scholars are brought together in applied research contexts to solve complex problems. As graduate students in an applied conservation science program, we describe an experiential learning program that facilitated the development of research proposals and created transformative experiences. In this program we engaged in a field course in the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in the Department of Madre de Dios, Peru, which was designed to teach us how to effectively engage with and learn from our peers. As a critical reflection on this course, we present five keys to transdisciplinary scholarship that were instrumental for interfacing with scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplinary backgrounds: 1) develop a common language, 2) cultivate connections with your peers, 3) assert your worth, 4) know the assumptions of your field, and 5) recognize ideological differences. Each key to integration facilitated the process of integrating different forms of knowledge and learning about how to most effectively translate environmental policies into practice.


Key words: Graduate training program, experiential education, biodiversity conservation, transdisciplinarity, Peru
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